WILKES-BARRE – Customers were turned away from their morning breakfast and coffee while city firefighters battled a grease fire at McDonalds on East Northampton Street Thursday.
Two employees were transported to a local hospital for breathing in fumes from a fire extinguisher.
Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Reilly said firefighters responded to the fast-food restaurant just before 9 a.m. when a grease fire erupted in the fryer area in the kitchen.
A fire suppression system designed to extinguish flare-ups failed to activate, Reilly said.
Two employees hit the flames with fire extinguishers, breathing in chemicals. They were treated by paramedics before being taken to a hospital.
About three customers and 10 employees were inside the restaurant at the time. As firefighters were checking the building and an aerial ladder was extended to the roof, customers tried to walk into the restaurant or order food at the drive-through window, only to be turned away. Another customer lingered outside for nearly 30 minutes hoping the restaurant would reopen for breakfast.
"I come here a few days a week. I like their McGriddle sandwiches," said Tom Langler of Wilkes-Barre.
Officials with the city's code enforcement office and health department inspected the damage.
Reilly said the restaurant will remain closed until health department officials determine it is safe to reopen.
The restaurant remained closed late Thursday afternoon.